With Christmas time rapidly approaching, considering some of the issues that have plagued Tottenham Hotspur’s season so far, you would have thought that festive goodwill would be in abundance in N17.

Following a summer of managerial change and tactical upheaval, only to be negated by chairman Daniel Levy’s failure to adequately back both up in the transfer market, Andre Villas-Boas’ side has been besieged by injuries to crucial first team players.

Yet despite the doom, gloom and often over exuberant doom mongering that’s been in attendance at White Hart Lane at points this term, Tottenham aren’t doing that badly at all. In fact, whisper it quietly, but they’re actually enjoying a very astute term so far under their new Portuguese leader.

With the frenetic, yet equally defining festive fixture list set to kick into gear, Spurs sit joint fourth in the Premier League, well in contention for a targeted Champions League spot, a place in the knockout rounds of the Europa League awaits and a series of Christmas fixtures that offers them a real chance to gain momentum, lies just ahead.

But bizarrely, where as the early phases of the Premier League season saw extrinsic outlets offer some of the most negative and often unfounded critique the Lilywhites have been exposed to in recent times, as the season has continued, it’s been the voices of many of their own that have offered the most cause for pessimism.

There was something ever so nihilistic in the lukewarm praise that small sections of Spurs’ support bestowed upon Andre Villas-Boas’ men following the 3-0 win at Fulham. Following the wins against West Ham United and Liverpool respectively, the three points gained at Craven Cottage saw the side step up to the plate when the pressure was on, turning the tides of skepticism that had come following three straight league defeats.

Although for some, the wins weren’t enough. The perceived stuttering nature of the football being played during these three wins wasn’t enough for. And you get the feeling that Sunday’s 90th minute implosion at Goodison Park offered some fans the perfect early Christmas present.

If you needed any evidence that some were slightly begrudging in their recent praise of Spurs’ performances, than look no further than the reaction from some parties to the 2-1 defeat to Everton. In the last 48 hours, the usual outlets from social media to radio phone-ins, has seen Villas-Boas slammed, Adebayor put on the armchair transfer list and the William Gallas hate mob turn their attentions to Steven Caulker.

While it’s important to stress that the majority of Spurs fans are very much behind their manager, the alarming gloom emanating from a small, but sizeable chunk of supporters beggars belief.

The manner of the defeat at Goodison Park was difficult to stomach and supporters are well within their right to bemoan the amount of late goals their side have conceded. Yes, the side need to stem the flow of goals let in at the death, but for some to say they shouldn’t have conceded any goals so late, it’s simply out of proportion.

Spurs would be sitting at the top of the Premier League had games lasted only 80 minutes, rather than the 90. On the flipside if games lasted only 45 minutes, Aston Villa would be sixth. You can frame these sort of statistics however you want, but as frustrating as that is for fans, surely that should be acting as a motivational tool, rather than a stick to hit their manager with?

Since Andre Villas-Boas has been at the club, he’s not been able to field their player of the year in Scott Parker, for one minute of league football. Their outstanding central defender of last year in Younes Kaboul, was available for the season’s opener, before being ruled out till late January. The club’s one and only recognized left-back in Benoit Assou-Ekotto, racked up only three outings this term before injury.

It gets better, too. Mousa Dembele, arguably the sole outlet of creativity in this Spurs midfield, has missed a large chunk of their season’s proceedings with a hip injury. And even when you take fitness out the equation, the trouble hasn’t stopped there.

Spurs sit level fourth in the league, after selling not one, but two of their greatest assets. While the spiteful contingent are too busy hurling abuse at Luka Modric, they may have forgotten that the club lost arguably the best midfielder it possessed for near on 20 years. Rafael van der Vaart’s loss was a further hammer blow. And let’s not forget, where as Villas-Boas was desperate for the metronomic skills of Porto’s Joao Moutinho to build his side around, he was served Clint Dempsey instead.

These aren’t little pot-shot problems here.  The injuries Spurs have faced and the transfer market dealings they inflicted upon themselves are the sort of issues that derail seasons. Yet they’re still well in contention for a fourth placed finish and progress in the Europa League.

Until people let go of the bleary eyed nostalgia of last season and beyond, this perceived negativity is never going to dissipate. Villas-Boas has made his mistakes and there is some real room for improvement, but the club is evolving.

Spurs aren’t pinging the ball around with the panache of last season, but they are still picking up points and that’s what fans should be focusing on, especially in the circumstances, rather than moaning as to where the swashbuckling play of last term has gone.

With talk of a revived move for Joao Moutinho in the works, a squad that is learning and developing through every game and a manager that desperately craves success on not one, but two fronts, fans should be bold, positive and content heading into 2013. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it wasn’t without its hiccups, either. The naysayers would do well to remember that.

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  • Jay
    1 year ago

    Excellent, excellent, EXCELLENT article.

    Reply
  • Brad
    1 year ago

    Its not often i fully agree with articles on Spurs but this is a very balanced and i believe correct view of our season so far. Can’t wait to get some key names back in the team and maybe an addition of two come January then we might start believing in more. COYS

    Reply
  • Bobbyh
    1 year ago

    Great article.
    I couldn’t agree more. AVB and the players are doing a great job and joint 4th (or 5th as I like to say it) plus knock out stages of the Europa League is a great position to be in.

    I do find it funny that Spurs, who are in a transition with new manager and new players get so much stick from the media yet the likes of BR at Liverpool, who are in the same position gets praised for the superb job he is doing. I know where I would prefer to be!

    Get behind the manager and the team and be real supporters not plastic ones.

    Reply
  • Chris
    1 year ago

    Whilst i think it’s far too early to critise too much, AVB’s subs are very strange, and for me the reason we let in so many late goals. I watched every game and the subs just invite pressure for the last 10 mins. Taking Lennon off at Everton and bringing on Huddlestone with 20 mins left was a prime example.

    Saying that when we get all our players back Gallas and Hud shouldn’t get near the first team, and i agree injuries have been very harsh to AVB and we sold our best, and 3rd best player and haven’t replaced them which isn’t AVB’s fault. 4th not out the question, but only because Arsenal are poor themselves.

    Reply
    • Jay
      1 year ago

      No one can deny that substitutions have been questionable. But I think it is difficult to label the substitutions as a direct factor of late goals.

      I also agree Gallas and Hud shouldn’t be near the 1st team, along with Livermore.

      Reply
      • Enforcer
        1 year ago

        well conceding 10 goals within 5 minutes of making those substitutions says otherwise

        Reply
  • Ramos43
    1 year ago

    Top article! Great read!

    I too believe there is much to be cheerful about, IF you happen to ‘support’ spurs, heading into the festive period. The return to fitness of key personnel, 3 points of 3rd place and the promise of new signings.

    I believe AVB is, without question, the right man to help fulfil the clubs (and our)ambitions.

    Of course he has made mistakes, but what has impressed me is his willingness to learn from them.

    Lets remember that playing pre-season games is one thing, but it is only in the pressurised environment of the EPL that you truly learn about the players at your disposal. This is what AVB is STILL doing.

    KEEP YOUR FAITH AND HOLD YOUR NERVE!!!

    Reply
    • Enforcer
      1 year ago

      Not buying it Ramos. 2nd game of the season Huddleston on for Defoe, totally changes the shape were winning 1-0 within the last 5 mins we draw. Last game played, Huddleston on for Lennon totally changes the shape were winning 1-0 within the last 5 mins we loose. he has learnt nothing. and for the record I do “support” spurs. I have for over 40 years and have a 400 mile round trip to do so but I don’t do it blindly, I am honest in my support, praise and criticism.

      Reply
  • spuds4me
    1 year ago

    Brave words – lets hope you’re right! Completely agree that injuries and levy’s weird transfer dealings have not been kind to avb. Re. transfer money in January I’ll believe it when it actually happens; I’ve been following spurs too long to fall for that one! If we don’t get another attacking midfielder of quality (not a bargain bucket job levy special) then we might just stand a chance of top 4 this year providing we don’t get too many injuries and arsenal’s woes continue and everton start piling up injuries too.
    The subs worry me a bit as well; 1-0 is not a lead to defend (even if we had defenders!), even 2-0 can be hairy against decent teams. Might work on the continent but it doesn’t in the epl. Spurs in the last 3 years when playing well haven’t given teams a chance to recover and perhaps avb should look back at some of those games and learn….
    I’m willing to give this guy longer because i like him, but we need to see an improvement in consistency once kabul, benny and scotty all return. Levy needs to splash the cash in jan too to prove that moutiunho was a cock up and not just an excuse to save money which a lot suspect it was.

    Reply
  • Enforcer
    1 year ago

    Frankie you know my thoughts on this and I couldn’t disagree with you any more. AVB is flawed, making the same basic mistakes time and time again.
    We have lost 6 games this season that is over a 3rd of the games we have played and please don’t anyone give me the injury crap because after 80 mins we would be top so that blows that argument out the water. We have conceded 10 goals within 5 minutes of AVB making a substitution this season without scoring ourselves after which is disgraceful. Do the league in your head and see where we should be. I give us 33 points and that includes loosing to Man utd, man city and Ars, drawing with Newcastle, chelsk and Everton. Blind faith is just as damaging as total negativity and Jesus do I want him to succeed but it wont happen. He isn’t good enough.

    Reply
    • Sam Antrobus
      1 year ago

      Agreed in that the injuries don’t deflect away from some of his substitutions, but equally they’ve still had a big part to play. First choice left-back, first-choice centre half, player of the year and for a large chunk our best player in Dembele too, that’s a massive detriment. Considering the lack of the depth of this squad, especially defensively, it’s not given him much scope I don’t think.

      Yes he’s made bizarre subs, i.e. the Dawson one against City & countless others, but how he can he be blamed for individual error? A Lennon mistake gives the penalty away against Newcastle. A Gallas/Walker horror show against Chelsea. Caulker’s cock up against Everton. I’m not disagreeing in that he’s made mistakes and he has to improve in that respect. But let’s see Levy back him in January and let him try and push on. I’m not sure I see the doom and gloom.

      Reply
      • enforcer
        1 year ago

        you have said it for me mate.
        First choice left-back, first-choice centre half, player of the year missing. so what does he do? Plays our best CB at LB instantly making 2 positions weaker. Naughton at LB with Vert beside him would do less damage to the spine than Caulker at CB with Gallas. Why make 2 positions weaker when you can get away with 1?
        Would Parker really get into the side with Sandro? Are you really saying we want to watch 6 non creative defending players on the pitch?
        can he be blamed for individual errors? In short No but players will always make errors and it is his job to make sure when players make those errors there is damage limitation and you do that by have your best players in their best positions. Let us not forget this is the manager who only 2 weeks ago realised Lloris was better than Brad, that wanted Dawson out the club and keep gallas, that tried to offload Hud but now plays him every bloddy weak.
        AVB has shown me nothing to get excited about but I can forgive that as he hasnt had the signings he wanted. What I cant forgive is basic errors that happen every week. This is a professional manager being paid a fortune who untill 2 weeks ago believed a 40 year old in his last season was a safer bet in goal than one of the top 5 keepers in the world.
        He is the emporors new clothes and on that subject watch Pep screw up when given a chance in the prem.

        Reply
        • Sam Antrobus
          1 year ago

          I can only disagree with the Naughton sentiment. When he’s played left back against Maribor at home and Arsenal away, he’s looked way out of his depth. I know not all will agree, but playing Verts there is surely the lesser of two evils? Everton targeted the big Belgian on Sunday, but would things not have been a whole lot worse had Naughton played there? Gallas in the centre or Naughton at left-back – it’s a loose loose situation for him

          And not necessarily start him, but I’d much rather have our player of the year coming on to see out a game, than Tom Huddlestone? Again, I’m not defending all his substitutions but there’s been times this season, especially during the first three games, there’s simply been no one else but TH to bring on. Not saying things would be different last 10 mins of games, but Parker could have made a big impact

          I do get the frustrations with him, I can’t think of any logic behind the Freidel/Lloris situation. I just think the ultimately judgement has to be when he brings the players he wants in, not Levy or anyone elses. If that happens in January, then surely next May is the fairest assessment we can cast?

          Reply
        • Enforcer
          1 year ago

          but you don’t concede goals from the LB position in the quantity as you do in CB. You only name 2 games where Naughton may be to blame and one of them we only had 10 men. Willie G has been out of his depth all season and as CB is an integral part of the teams defensive spine he is largely responsible for anything coming down the middle and after it has been crossed in. Vert next to Dawson or Caulker keeps our spine looking strong.
          I have never understood why some people invite pressure to see a game out. It is all well and good doing that if you are defensively sound but we have been outplayed in the majority of games this season, even QPR should have been 3 up before we had a sniff at goal so to invite more pressure and give the opposition more space to do it shows how naïve the tactics have been. There have been plenty of other substitutions this season AVB could have made rather than bring Hud on but it seems he does not trust Townsend, Falque and Carroll enough to blood them.
          I agree we will only be able to judge fairly come May when he has signed the players he wants but I do fear like his predecessors AVB will get the players Levy wants to sign.

          Reply
  • Cheshuntboy
    1 year ago

    The article is total drivel, so thank God for some common sense from ‘Enforcer’. There’s still not been a single totally convincing performance this season – even Villa and West Ham had good chances to take the lead in our eventual wins, and victories over United and Liverpool were ‘skin of the teeth’ jobs – we couldn’t have complained if we’d lost both. All the evidence so far suggests that AVB is guilty of the same pig-headed arrogance that brought him down at Chelsea, but the guilty verdict will presumably only come when he’s made the same mess at WHL – the Portugese league is his level, not the EPL.

    Reply
    • Sam Antrobus
      1 year ago

      If ifs and ands were pots and pans – Cheshuntboy, everyone keeps looking past the ‘performances’ but the fact of the matter is Spurs and Villas-Boas DID win those games. Considering the mess that Levy served him up transfer wise, he’s not done bad at all.

      I’m not buying this whole ‘AVB isn’t at our level’ rubbish. Back him in January and actually buy the players HE wants to play the system Levy KNEW he was coming here to implement, rather than desperately letting him down. Then, judge him where we sit next summer. It’s not always been pretty and he’s made mistakes, but the facts are we’re 3 points off third place heading into Christmas, with three first teamers set to return to the fold.

      Reply
  • Enforcer
    1 year ago

    Add 13 points to our total and we are top. Subtract 13 and we are 3rd from bottom that is the level of margin.
    You have to look at the performances when they become the norm and yes we did win those games but for Christ sake it was teams like west ham, villa and Southampton all teams we should be beating anyway. All the iffy games ars, chelsk, Man U, man city, Everton, Newcastle, Liverpool we took 6 points from 21 that in itself is laughable and I haven’t even mentioned Wigan, Norwich and west brom. Bottom line is we have a manager who failed to such an extent at chelsk he didn’t see 6 months and he has done nothing to show us otherwise. People need to stop talking about AVB like he is the next messiah and judge him purely Chim Chiminey, Chim Chimney, Chim Chiminey Choo, Dumped out of the cup by a side from League Two!on what he has given us. If you think that is something to get excited about then I would love to see you on Christmas Day, you would make frank Gallagher at a stone roses concert look positively depressed.

    Reply
    • Jay
      1 year ago

      Then explain these losses to opposition last year, when we had HR, VDV, Modric, and King.

      December 11, 2011
      Stoke v THFC
      Result: 2-1 (Loss, goal through Adebayor penalty)

      December 31, 2011
      Swansea v THFC
      Result: 1-1 (Loss)

      January 14, 2012
      THFC v Wolverhampton
      Result: 1-1

      April 7, 2012
      Sunderland v THFC
      Result: 0-0

      April 9, 2012
      THFC v Norwich
      Result: 1-2 (Loss)

      April 21, 2012
      QPR v THFC
      Result: 1-0 (Loss)

      May 6, 2012
      Aston Villa v THFC
      Result: 1-1 (goal through Adebayor penalty)

      Were these not all teams we were supposed to easily defeat? Were these not considered dropped points. Had we won these games, would we not be in the Champions League right now? You can always look at every result in a pessimistic way. Points will always be dropped, for one reason or another. Every team does, it’s part of the 38-game schedule of the Premier League. It in no way justifies AVB as a bad fit for Tottenham, so your argument is ridiculous, baseless, and unintelligent.

      Reply
      • Jay
        1 year ago

        And after doing some simple math, we would have been 4 points off from the title had we won all of these games.
        FIRE HARRY FIRE HARRY…ohh wait we did that

        Reply
      • Kiwi Spursman
        1 year ago

        Nicely put. Some people will NEVER be happy. All these whingers and moaners (probably still believe in the tooth fairy and Father Xmas – as they seem to think that with the team AVB has had to field so far we should be top of the table and undefeated) should go support um? ah? wait a minute there is NO undefeated team! No team who have played attractive winning unbeatable football. Support the team – which means from the manager down or pi$$ off back to never never land.

        Reply
      • Enforcer
        1 year ago

        I don’t want to nit pick but out of the 7 losses you mention only 3 were actually defeats,and lets not forget in both the stoke and wolves games we actually scored legitimate goals in both games that were wrongly ruled out and would have seen us win. Again your matches are throughout a season where I can pretty much match you in less than a 3rd of the season. More importantly nearly all the games you mention should have seen us play them with a squad strengthened in January instead of Levy screwing the lot of us and making the squad weaker then appeasing us with Neilson and Saha, but that is a discussion for another day. Also let us not forget we dominated all but one of those games even Villa with 10 men.
        What suggests AVB is a bad fit for spurs is the football he now has us playing, his inability to get things tactically right to see a game out, The bizarre teams he has puts out, the treatment of Dawson (make him captain one day then try and get rid of him the following day), his thinking behind Hud (try and get of him, then when you cant play him) and the fact we get a manager on the basis of ONE good season coaching in the Portuguese league before failing royally in the Prem. Are you telling me when he was screwing Chelsk up you were sat there wishing he was our manager? Was you bo##ocks. You were like the rest of us laughing our nuts off.
        If my argument is “ridiculous, baseless, and unintelligent” then explain the performances this season, explain the tactics, explain the substitutions? explain why after 80 mins we would be top? All of those points are FACT. The only two things you have got right in your piece is saying points will be dropped and your name. Well done my friend, well done…

        Reply
        • Jarrell
          1 year ago

          I dont want to nitpick, but people have complained about the draws at the beginning of the season, conveniently ignoring that we’ve been dropping silly points for 2-3 years now. You say the we played those games without a strengthened squad…what if I said we’d played all our games this season with a WEAKENED squad? More to the point, why was a team that was as great as you suggest capable of going on such a poor run of form that we threw away third place? We dominated all of those games? Wigan dominate games all the time, and look how their seasons pan out…RESULTS are what matters, especially when playing with “a weakened squad”.
          We’ve had problems seeing games out in previous years as well, not to mention the fact that this is a developing team…granted, it has been a serious problem this season, the stats cant be denied, but surely you should judge something like this over a season? AVB and the players have clearly explained that they are aware of the problem and are trying to put it right…i’d say that theyre doing more about it than I would have assumed, which is impressive on the coaching teams part.
          AVB didnt “make [Dawson] captain” in the way that you and The Sun suggest. He was asked whom would captain Dawson this season, and his response was that as Dawson was vice-captain under the previous regime he would be our “reference point” – at the time I interpreted this to mean “i’ve just got here so shall go with what we have for now, but im open to the idea of doing so”. He didnt try to get rid of Hud, it was thought best to send him on loan to Stoke to try to regain his fitness…Villas-Boas has spoken very admirably about him, and about the possible Stoke deal that didnt materialise.
          You cannot seriously judge a manager on 6 months at Chelsea. For christ’s sake, Scolari had one a world cup and was sacked after a similar period of time, would you lambast him like this?
          My view of the team a the moment is this: The performances are the reflection of a good tactical plan being let down by players who are unused to being given detailed tactical instruction, and fulfilling “roles” within the team. This doesnt mean to say that they cant, and that this plan should be abandoned; it simply means that its going to take a bit of time. Being able to win games, and stay in the Champions League places while not playing well, and having a sizeable injury list to key players should be applauded and looked at with optimism, not your unconsidered rants. I understand your frustrations with the subs, I honestly do, but its a very delicate balance. If we’re 1-0 up and he puts on Falque/Townsend who then go and fail to have a devestating impact [which can happen with young players], yet dont have the experience to deal with pressure and give away cheap fouls/possesion, what would we say then? Putting on huddlestone isnt necessarily defensive…Huddlestone isnt a destroyer, he’s an immobile playmaker, and [previously] one of our most trusted players, particularly in ball retention [one of primary sources of capitulation]. I believe that now we’re far more capable of getting results against a variety of teams, instead of relying on form, individual brilliance and momentum. Harry’s team could be catasrophically poor when they werent on a supercharged run…Im much more confident now that we wont toss it all away as we did last year.

          Reply
        • Jarrell
          1 year ago

          A*VB didnt “make [Dawson] captain” in the way that you and The Sun suggest. He was asked whom would captain us this season, and his response was that as Dawson was vice-captain under the previous regime he would be our “reference point” – at the time I interpreted this to mean “i’ve just got here so shall go with what we have for now, but i might look to change that”.

          Reply
  • Enforcer
    1 year ago

    Kiwi I see your argument is less intelligent than Jays. If you actually read what I said I take into account loosing at Man U, Man City and Arse. The only person going on about being undefeated was YOU! If you honestly believe supporting someone blindly is the way forward then you are a tw~t. I support the team honestly, I have been to 100′s of games over the past 40 years and have earned the right to say when I don’t believe in a decision the club has made. I am also qualified enough to understand tactics (all of which can be verified by the main writer). your piece de resistance is the quote “they seem to think that with the team AVB has had to field so far we should be top of the table and undefeated” well guess what Johnny AFTER 80 minutes WE SHOULD BE TOP, FACT!!! If your “intelligent” argument had any more holes in it, it wouldn’t be called an argument, it would be called a sieve.

    Reply
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